Like I said, a few posts on bullying. In my last post, I talked about how the anti-bullying campaign focuses on the eradication of bullying, but instead we should be focused on building resilience in children.
With all of the being said, bullying has changed dramatically with the rise in social media and technology.
I was bullied when I was a kid, I also bullied others. I think that is just a fact of childhood, I am not proud of the way I acted towards some of my classmates but I didn’t know better at the time, and I wanted to fit in with the people that bullied me – social pressure can be a bitch.
I didn’t have a lot of friends at school, I was the quiet, shy, smart-kid. I had “friends” but they mostly used me to copy my work and then gossiped about me behind my back. But I played sports, I was athletic and I excelled; here I had friends. Friends that accepted me for who I was, friends that liked me. Real friends, some of which I am still in touch with today. Sports were my escape. It didn’t matter that school was a hellscape where I was used and bullied, I could always escape to sports. And as I got older, those were the people I surrounded myself with, who I hung out with outside of school. My sports friends didn’t really know my school acquaintances, apart from one or two people who I played sports with and went to school with – which, in hindsight, are interesting case studies.
Yes, I was bullied at school, but that never followed me home. I was fifteen when I got my first cell phone, and I was one of the first of my friends to have one. Text messaging was barely a thing, Facebook didn’t exist. I only turned my phone on when I wasn’t at home, which meant that most of my friends called the house number first. This meant, that in order for bullying to follow me home, the bully would have to call my house and risk my mom answering, having to ask to speak to me, before finally getting a chance to bully me. That never happened, so bullying was limited to at school.
Now… it is a whole different ball game. Bullying follows kids everywhere! Get home from school and get shitty messages on Facecbook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Make friends at an extracurricular activity? Your bully will message these people and poison them against you before you can form a deep-seeded bond.
Not to mention the public humiliation that bullying entails today. Someone trips you at school and everyone points and laughs. In the past, embarrassment for a day or two until everyone forgot; now, someone filmed it and posted it on various social media platforms for everyone to see. On top of that, it can get reposted a week or two later, just to humiliate you again.
I don’t think bullying is more prevalent than it used to be, but there is no escape for kids these days. No safe space like I had.
But this is why that I think building resilience has to be the most important aspect of anti-bullying.
No, I am not sad that I am not growing up in this technological age.